A move to soften the blow of the bedroom tax in Wolverhampton by reclassifying bedrooms has been ruled out by council chiefs.
Earlier this year, government cuts were made in housing benefit given to council tenants with more bedrooms than they are deemed to need.
It is estimated that around 2,620 people in the city have been hit by the move, with the bulk facing an £11-a-week loss in benefit, while around 530 are battling to cope with a £20-a-week cut after being ruled to have two rather than one bedroom too many.
Wolverhampton City Council chiefs are offering assistance to those affected but have now decided against introducing a widespread ‘reclassification’ that could reduce the effect on homes by calling small bedrooms by a different name.
The cabinet said it will resort to reclassification only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ following ‘rigorous assessment’.
The unanimous decision followed warnings that wholesale implementation could cost them dear.
Council leader Councillor Roger Lawrence told a meeting of the cabinet: “Following the bedroom tax, a number of local authorities have looked at reclassification as a way of helping tenants to tackle this unpopular and regressive piece of legislation. Sadly I do not think this will help this city council.
“The procedure may enable us to assess a small number of properties but it is not a general solution. Nice try, but we would end up facing all kinds of issues.”
A helpline was set up in the wake of the welfare reforms to give people advice.